And the Oscar for best moo-vie goes to . . .
Cork is really milking it this year with five farming families from the rebel county reaching the finals of what are known as the ‘Oscars of the dairy world’.
The five Cork farms will join seven other families from around the country at the finals of the 2021 NDC & Kerrygold Quality Milk Awards.
The annual awards recognise the highest standards of excellence in dairy farming with a focus on milk quality, animal welfare and sustainable farming practices.
Representing Cork at the awards are the Barry Family Farm in Mallow, the Hurley Family Farm in Bandon, the Kingston Family Farm in Skibbereen, the McCarthy Family Farm in Rosscarbery, and the O’Sullivan Family Farm in Whitechurch.
The overall winner will be announced at the special outdoor awards ceremony at Moorepark Dairy Open Day in Fermoy on 15 September.
The theme of this year’s event centres around Irish Dairying: Delivering Sustainably, celebrating farms that are industry leaders in sustainable food production.
The 12 shortlisted families were announced by the National Dairy Council and Ornua, a global leader in dairy produce based in Dublin.
Commenting on the awards, CEO at Ornua John Jordan said that Ireland’s food and drink sector has “won its place on the world stage” due to the quality of produce and focus on sustainable production.
“Maintaining this competitive advantage has never been more important as our unique, Irish, grass-fed family-farmed system is valued by consumers at home and abroad,” he said.
The judging panel for this year’s awards include Dr Jack Kennedy, Dairy Editor of the Irish Farmers Journal, Prof Pat Wall from UCD, and Dr David Gleeson from Teagasc.
Each finalist was put through intense scrutiny, including a thorough analysis of milk quality reports and technical data spanning 12 months.
The judging process also included an inspection on farm to gain insights into areas such as animal welfare and sustainability.
Prof Wall said: “Every year, entrants to the NDC and Kerrygold Quality Milk Awards impress the judges with high calibre production practices and commitment to sustainable farming. All finalists clearly demonstrated excellent standards in all facets of food production and are true ambassadors for Irish dairy.”
Zoe Kavanagh, CEO of the National Dairy Council added: “Irish dairy has one of the lowest carbon footprints internationally, primarily due to the unique grass-fed, family based Irish farming system which is extremely efficient and involves less intensive farming. It is in all our interests to continue to nurture that approach.”
The awards ceremony will be live streamed from 9-10am on 15 September to facilitate those that cannot attend due to governmental guidelines. Those interested in viewing the event can register at teagasc.ie/moorepark21.